This day, I wanted to run out of the room; but afraid of looking and feeling like a freak, I stayed.
The poetry syllabus for the last half of the semester was a compilation of student selected literary works.
The poem is read by the student, and then dissected piece by piece into manageable sections by content, literary devices, and context – not necessarily in that order.
My experience as a reader has taught me that poems have the ability to inspire and resonate within a person, strangely like lyrics to a song or a sad movie.
As I sat there, I became ever so increasingly agitated. My hands were shaking, and I my face was igniting from my throat up. He just kept talking, talking on and on in that peculiar, odd way of his that classmates snickered at. His thorough analyzing of the metaphors is what got me. Finally, he finished. The last section of the poem is positive he says. He references the sun shining and the new grass.
Does anyone else have anything to add? Loud spoken girl that has answered every question all semester, never having an accurate interpretation: “It could be construed as imagery alluding to birth and the birthing process.” She proceeds to ramble like an idiot, sucking up to the professor for a grade.
I had had enough.
“No, it’s not. It is not positive, and it is not talking about birth.”
Everyone is taken aback at my blunt statement of contradiction.
“My brother drowned in a ravine two years ago, and when the author is talking about the sun shining and the grass growing, it is because it indicates that time moves just as nature and the seasons. The dream sails in the next stanza represent all the dreams that a mother has for her children, of succeeding, living life to the full, and having enjoyment in her children’s children; they all collapsed at that moment. In no way is this positive.” I did not bother to addresses the others ridiculous statements.
The professor tried to salvage the moment by saying that birth and death are cyclical and some other babble that was lost on me.
DEATH OF A YOUNG SON BY DROWNING
He, who navigated with success
the dangerous river of his own birth
once more set forth
on a voyage of discovery
into the land I floated on
but could not touch to claim.
His feet slid on the bank,
the currents took him;
he swirled with ice and trees in the swollen water
and plunged into distant regions,
his head a bathysphere;
through his eyes' thin glass bubbles
he looked out, reckless adventurer
on a landscape stranger than Uranus
we have all been to and some remember.
There was an accident; the air locked,
he was hung in the river like a heart.
They retrieved the swamped body,
cairn of my plans and future charts,
with poles and hooks
from among the nudging logs.
It was spring, the sun kept shining, the new grass
leapt to solidity;
my hands glistened with details.
After the long trip I was tired of waves.
My foot hit rock. The dreamed sails
I planted him in this country
like a flag.
By Margaret Atwood